For Mac Users: Migrate Your Image Catalogs From Aperture to Lightroom, Lightroom to Luminar, and More

For Mac Users: Migrate Your Image Catalogs From Aperture to Lightroom, Lightroom to Luminar, and More

Mac users with a need to migrate image catalogs to another hosting app have found that process difficult to impossible. Help is here, in the form of a new app called Avalanche Unlimited from CYME Software. The app can deal with migration from Apple Aperture, Adobe Lightroom, Luminar 4, Capture One, and Apple Photos. The latter two are coming soon as a free update. 

Migrating libraries can be a real pain point, and I hear from an increasing number of photographers who are moving away from Lightroom, but don't want to lose their library data. Since Aperture is no longer supported by Apple, people want to easily move those libraries elsewhere. There have been solutions for some of these migrations, like an Adobe plugin that can get both Apple Photos and Aperture into Lightroom, but it doesn't get everything. But Avalanche Unlimited is like a Swiss Army knife allowing you to move your libraries from anywhere to almost anywhere else. 

Features

  • Full support for migrating masters and versions, both for pictures and videos.
  • All your annotations (all IPTC fields), keywords, face detections are fully migrated.
  • All your collections, albums, sets, stacks, and projects are fully migrated. Avalanche will try to replicate the organization features present in the source catalog.
  • Full support for managed and referenced images.
  • Full support for images on offline volumes.
  • Many output options to control the location, copy rules, and organization of images in their new destination.
  • Many fallback strategies when the destination catalog does not support the same set of features as the source.

Compatibility

  • Source catalogs: Adobe Lightroom (from version 7 on), Aperture, Luminar (from version 4.2). Capture One and Photos are coming soon.
  • Supported outputs: Adobe Lightroom (version 8 and version 9), Luminar 4.2, files, and folders.
  • Avalanche Unlimited does not require the source or destination app to be present or functional on disk.
  • Avalanche Unlimited will be frequently updated with all the catalog formats that we aim to support in the future.

The software uses machine learning, so all standard edits (white balance, light, color) are migrated using machine language\ in such a way that the image will look the same in the destination catalog. Also, black and white conversion is fully supported for the highest accuracy.

The software was developed by Aperture users who wanted an easy way to migrate their data elsewhere without losing their edits. I tried the software on a small Lightroom library. It's small because I use mainly use Adobe bridge, which I find a lighter-weight solution, although it doesn't have much power. 

You can start by dropping a catalog on the app, or it can look in the usual places.

I set the software to look for libraries on my Mac, and it found the Lightroom data. I gave it the option to migrate to a Luminar 4 library, and it asked where the folder for that was. And off the software went. 

It did convert the images, much of the metadata and edits, but the problem is the Luminar catalog is pretty weak compared to Lightroom, which is amazingly full-featured. The folks at CYME software know that, and they told me they create a side database called "migration_database" with all the data that Luminar can't handle as of now but might be able to ingest later. They add that even if Luminar is not on par with Lightroom when it comes to organizing and annotating, they keep those tags in a safe place for now. Either Skylum or CYME will be able to leverage that data at some point in the future, when or if Luminar becomes a grown-up library manager. 

There were a few errors in my migration, largely because I'd moved the original photos off my disk and didn't keep Lightroom updated. 

Since I really don't use Lightroom as a library much and Aperture is long gone from my computer, my testing was a bit limited. CYME offers a free trial of the software so you can see if it suits your needs. It's $119.99 to buy from the Mac App Store. Updates are free, which will be welcome as the software adds more migration options. 

Still, Avalanche Unlimited is an impressive app and a good idea. 

Unless I needed the migrations it can do now, I think I'd wait for the next version that adds Photos and Capture One. Luminar users who are leaving Lightroom will find it useful, but as I mentioned, the Luminar catalogs just aren't mature yet, even though they are improving.

So, if you have a use for Avalanche, go for it. I expect it will be rapidly adding features, and for Mac users migrating from one software suite to another, it's a worthwhile piece of software. 

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6 Comments

nitinchandra's picture

For $100 I would migrate all my catalogs manually :)

Everything is machine learning today. Wonder how they do it (i.e. gather the data for that!).

And then:
* Source catalogs: Adobe Lightroom (from v7), Aperture, Luminar (from v4.2).
* Supported outputs: Adobe Lightroom (v8 and v9), Luminar 4.2, Files and Folders.

I can convert from Luminar 4.2 to Luminar 4.2 (wow!). And I can convert from LR v7 to V8 and V9 which LR might do as well or better for nothing. As far as I know you can also import Aperture catalog to LR.

And Capture One can convert LR catalog to CO.

So $112 burnt for nothing!

nitinchandra's picture

ON1 can also convert LR catalogs...Luminar is yet to grow up IMO...

hello. The purpose of Avalanche is not to go from LR 7 to LR 8 or 9 but from X to LR where X can be : Aperture, Luminar, etc...
You are right, you can import Aperture to LR using LR inbuilt version...but ask those who have tried it. It is slow, incomplete and loses a lot of information in the process. If you have asbolutely no edits to your images, you can use that route, for free ;-)
As for Luminar, there are currently no other options
As for CaptureOne, they have a great importer, but we believe we can do much better because we add a much better conversion of all edits.
But if all those solutions work for you, than it's great !

Why is machine learning an upside here? You could just create a LUT and it would be faster and more accurate. I guess they needed some buzzwords...

Hello. Thanks for the comment.

We did not need the buzzword ;-) ... but needed a way to transfer settings done in an app to another. It's simply because each app has a different RAW engine which means that specific settings are not expressed in the same scale or cannot be applied directly. A BlackAndWhite transformation in Aperture has 3 color sliders, whereas it has 6 or 8 color sliders in other apps. What does R=0.5, G=0.76 and B=0.13 mean when you move to Lightroom where you can control Purple, Cyan... The solution for that is to learn on a large number of situations and images how to go from settings in one app to another.
More info here: https://cyme.io/how-avalanche-uses-machine-learning-to-make-photo-apps-s...